EC to investigate anti-competition charges against Google

The European Commission has begun a formal investigation into whether Google has abused its dominant market position.

The anti-trust investigation focuses on a series of allegations made by companies including comparison site Foundem,
Microsoft-owned shopping site Ciao and French legal site eJustice.

These include claims that Google, which has a 90% UK search market share, deliberately skews results in favour of its own services over rivals, that it falsely lowers competitors’ quality scores and that it imposes certain exclusivity clauses with ad partners.

An EC statement read: “The opening of formal proceedings follows complaints by search service providers about unfavourable treatment of their services in Google’s unpaid and sponsored search results coupled with an alleged preferential placement of Google’s own services.”

“This initiation of proceedings does not imply that the Commission has proof of any infringements. It only signifies that the Commission will conduct an in-depth investigation of the case as a matter of priority,” the statement adds.

In a joint statement on the Google blog, Susan Wojcicki, Google senior VP of product management, and Udi Manber, VP of engineering, said the company would co-operate with the EC investigation.

“We respect its process and will continue to work closely with the Commission to answer its questions,” they say.

However, Google has also posted responses to each individual allegation. On whether it deliberately lowers the unpaid ranking of competitor sites, it said, “Google has never taken action to intentionally hurt competing services.”

Google is already facing an anti-trust investigation by the FTC in the US, as well as separate anti-competitive investigations in France, Germany and Italy.

This story first appeared on newmediaage.co.uk

Latest from Marketing Week

NOT REGISTERED? IT'S FREE, QUICK AND EASY!

Access Marketing Week’s wealth of insight, analysis and opinion that will help you do your job better.

Register and receive the best content from the only UK title 100% dedicated to serving marketers' needs.

We’ll ask you just a few questions about what you do and where you work. The more we know about our visitors, the better and more relevant content we can provide for them. And, yes, knowing our audience better helps us find commercial partners too. Don't worry, we won't share your information with other parties, unless you give us permission to do so.

Register now

THE BEST CONTENT

Our award winning editorial team (PPA Digital Brand of the Year) ask the big questions about the biggest issues on everything from strategy through to execution to help you navigate the fast moving modern marketing landscape.

THE BIGGEST ISSUES

From the opportunities and challenges of emerging technology to the need for greater effectiveness, from the challenge of measurement to building a marketing team fit for the future, we are your guide.

PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

Information, inspiration and advice from the marketing world and beyond that will help you develop as a marketer and as a leader.

Having problems?

Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3711 or email subscriptions@marketingweek.com

If you are looking for our Jobs site, please click here